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McDonald's Faces Suit After Girl Becomes Ill
http://www.clickondetroit.com/health/7203213/detail.html ^

Posted on 02/19/2006 3:39:08 AM PST by ShadowDancer

McDonald's Faces Suit After Girl Becomes Ill

POSTED: 9:03 pm EST February 18, 2006

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- The parents of a 5-year-old girl have sued McDonald's Corporation claiming its French fries contained a wheat protein that caused their daughter to become seriously ill.

Mark and Theresa Chimiak said in the lawsuit filed Friday in Palm Beach Circuit Court that their daughter Annalise had an intolerance to gluten.

The Chimiaks said they filed the lawsuit after McDonald's acknowledged earlier in the week that wheat and dairy ingredients were used in cooking oil for French fries.

The family's attorney, Brian W. Smith, said the family had checked with McDonald's before she ate the fries and were assured the product was gluten-free.

Jack Daly, senior vice president of McDonald's, said in an e-mail to the Palm Beach Post that the company is conducting research to determine that the fries have no gluten.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; US: Florida
KEYWORDS: mcdonald; mcdonalds
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1 posted on 02/19/2006 3:39:09 AM PST by ShadowDancer
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To: ShadowDancer
The family's attorney, Brian W. Smith, said the family had checked with McDonald's before she ate the fries and were assured the product was gluten-free.

If they did check with McD's, and the company misinformed them, then they have an excellent negligence case.
2 posted on 02/19/2006 3:41:52 AM PST by hispanichoosier
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To: ShadowDancer
My eldest daughter had "celiac disease" as an infant. She hardly gained wieght, and had loose bm's. After the doctor diagnosed her, we saw an immediate turnaround, after starting her on rice cakes, and other gluten-free stuff. It is not a disease in the real sense, but a body function not working properly. She eats anything now, and grew out of it by age 3... (but i still can't get her to eat her peas).

This suit is total Bravo Sierra, like the coffee incident. A smart lawyer (read that "Smarmy" slime) can make a federal case about anything.

3 posted on 02/19/2006 3:44:29 AM PST by pageonetoo (FReepmail for Celebrity Cruises (and more)- www.acorntogo.com -Acorn Travel)
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To: ShadowDancer

"said the family had checked with McDonald's before she ate the fries and were assured the product was gluten-free."

What, they asked a pimply faced 17 year old "associate" behind the counter "Do your fries have any gluten in them?", "No, they're just potatoes"

I smell a finger in the chili.

When did everyone become so sensitive to their food? Here's where I believe in Darwin. If you can't eat regular, normal food,...goodbye. Move on. RIP


4 posted on 02/19/2006 3:45:31 AM PST by garyhope (Peace through superior firepower, A-10's, C-130 gunships, rational thought and pragmatism.)
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To: ShadowDancer
A smart lawyer (read that "Smarmy" slime) can make a federal case about anything.

I forget to post the pic...


5 posted on 02/19/2006 3:46:42 AM PST by pageonetoo (FReepmail for Celebrity Cruises (and more)- www.acorntogo.com -Acorn Travel)
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To: pageonetoo
This suit is total Bravo Sierra, like the coffee incident.

I disagree. If McD's told the family that the fries were gluten-free, but they weren't, it's classic negligence. It's akin to a restaurant telling me that a certain food has no peanuts (which I'm allergic to) but then it turns out that the food does have peanuts.
6 posted on 02/19/2006 3:47:37 AM PST by hispanichoosier
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To: garyhope
When did everyone become so sensitive to their food?

When did people who were sensitive about their food let their kids eat McDonald's french fries?

As far as the sensitivity thing goes, prepared foods have so many ingredients now, you never know what you're getting.

If a child has issues, maybe, just maybe, Mom should consider cooking things from scratch for herself.

7 posted on 02/19/2006 3:50:16 AM PST by grania ("Won't get fooled again")
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To: hispanichoosier

You cant expect counter people to know what's in the grease.

If you have a problem with certain foods and you have common sense you bag it.

This is another case of suit disease.


8 posted on 02/19/2006 3:51:09 AM PST by sgtbono2002
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To: garyhope
What, they asked a pimply faced 17 year old "associate" behind the counter "Do your fries have any gluten in them?", "No, they're just potatoes"

Doesn't matter if they asked the 17 y/o behind the counter or the CEO. In our Anglo-American common law system, a company is responsible for the actions of its employees if those actions are done while on the job and as part of the job. The doctrine, respondeat superior, goes back to the age-old question: who's in the best position to avoid the harm...the people who cook a million fries a day or the person who visits McD's a few times a year?
9 posted on 02/19/2006 3:52:59 AM PST by hispanichoosier
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To: grania

Good point.

Also when did everybody start expecting perfect safety and no risk in every aspect of their lives? No risks, perfect safety, no danger is a fantasy and a luxury. It's OK if life has risks and is imperfect. It's called life 101.


10 posted on 02/19/2006 3:54:05 AM PST by garyhope (Peace through superior firepower, A-10's, C-130 gunships, rational thought and pragmatism.)
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To: sgtbono2002
You cant expect counter people to know what's in the grease.

Maybe I can't, but that's what the law expects. As I noted in a prior post, in our system the actions of employees are imputed to their employers as long as the actions are done while on the job and as part of the job.
11 posted on 02/19/2006 3:54:48 AM PST by hispanichoosier
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To: hispanichoosier
McDonald's has this covered in their "McDonald's USA Food Allergens and Sensitivities Listing " list.

I'm sure that pimply faced kid was incapable of reading it.

http://www.mcdonalds.com/app_controller.nutrition.categories.allergens.index.html
12 posted on 02/19/2006 3:56:58 AM PST by lindor
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To: pageonetoo

bttt


13 posted on 02/19/2006 3:57:12 AM PST by Guenevere
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To: garyhope
Also when did everybody start expecting perfect safety and no risk in every aspect of their lives?

I don't think it's about eliminating all risks but about eliminating risks that we know about. It wouldn't take a gargantuan expenditure of money, for example, to post a cardboard sign stating that "Fries Contain Gluten" if they indeed do have it.

One thing to remember is that even at common law (in 1600s England), inkeepers had a heightened duty of care toward their patrons. The idea that a resteraunteur has a duty to a customer isn't that new.
14 posted on 02/19/2006 3:57:34 AM PST by hispanichoosier
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To: lindor
McDonald's has this covered in their "McDonald's USA Food Allergens and Sensitivities Listing " list.

In that case, McD's will have a valid defense for trial and may even be able to dispose of this case at the summary judgment stage.
15 posted on 02/19/2006 3:58:55 AM PST by hispanichoosier
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To: ShadowDancer

Whatever happened to using plain old potatoes in plain old cooking oil?


16 posted on 02/19/2006 3:59:03 AM PST by cbkaty (I may not always post...but I am always here......)
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To: hispanichoosier
On another thread, it was explained that the fries are wheat free, but the oil has some stuff added to enhance flavors.

You sound like a good lawyer wannabe or you may be one, from the tone of your post)... It's not always somebody else's fault, friend. There was no major problem caused by this child eating some french fries, and I would bet big money on it. It is a lawyer trying to get paid!

I explained my experience about gluten intolerance, but I will go further. Here's a link to some real facts...

Celiac Disease: A lifelong autoimmune intestinal disorder, found in individuals who are genetically susceptible. Damage to the mucosal surface of the small intestine is caused by an immunologically toxic reaction to the ingestion of gluten and interferes with the absorption of nutrients.

Celiac Disease (CD) is unique in that a specific food component, gluten, has been identified as the trigger.

Gluten is the common name for the offending proteins in specific cereal grains that are harmful to persons with CD. These proteins are found in all forms of wheat (including durum, semolina, spelt, kamut, einkorn, and faro), and related grains, rye, barley, and triticale and must be eliminated.

17 posted on 02/19/2006 4:00:21 AM PST by pageonetoo (FReepmail for Celebrity Cruises (and more)- www.acorntogo.com -Acorn Travel)
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To: hispanichoosier

Yep, you're probably a lawyer...


18 posted on 02/19/2006 4:02:04 AM PST by pageonetoo (FReepmail for Celebrity Cruises (and more)- www.acorntogo.com -Acorn Travel)
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To: hispanichoosier

You said, in part: Doesn't matter if they asked the 17 y/o behind the counter or the CEO. In our Anglo-American common law system, a company is responsible for the actions of its employees if those actions are done while on the job and as part of the job.
***
You are correct, of course. The issue here is whether it is part of the job description of the counter help to advise what the ingredients in the cooking oil used by McDonald's are. I am not sure that it is part of that job.


19 posted on 02/19/2006 4:05:42 AM PST by NCLaw441
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To: pageonetoo
This suit is total Bravo Sierra, like the coffee incident. A smart lawyer (read that "Smarmy" slime) can make a federal case about anything.

This article says there should be no problem with the fries.

McDonald's news fries parents of allergic kids - February 15, 2006

To parents like Kaur, french fries had been one of the few "safe" items on fast-food menus. But on Monday, McDonald's acknowledged that a flavoring agent in the cooking oil used to make fries is derived from wheat and dairy ingredients, which can be off-limits to people with food allergies.

Still, physicians say there is no need to set off alarm bells yet.

The disclosure doesn't automatically put McDonald's fries on the forbidden list, according to Dr. Stefano Guandalini, a pediatric gastroenterologist with the University of Chicago's Celiac Disease Program...

"When you process the ingredients such as wheat in order to derive flavoring, you leave the gluten behind," Guandalini explained, comparing it to vinegar, another product from grains that are neutralized by the distillation process. "We have never found any evidence that eating french fries is a problem."

[snip]

20 posted on 02/19/2006 4:07:03 AM PST by DumpsterDiver
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To: hispanichoosier

You have a point.

They will lose. Due diligence on the part of the parents is not satisified by simply asking a sever to validate the absense of a threat to their minor child's welfare, and the parents already knew this, as well, unless they are retarded.
This is another ham & egger looking for a quick pay out from deep pockets

I could break this down in one minute.
So will Micky D.


21 posted on 02/19/2006 4:07:49 AM PST by bill1952 ("All that we do is done with an eye towards something else.")
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To: ShadowDancer
the company is conducting research to determine that the fries have no gluten.

This is the fulcrum of the plaintiff's case, if McDs research concludes that their fries are gluten free, case closed.
22 posted on 02/19/2006 4:16:15 AM PST by HEY4QDEMS (Learn from the past, don't live in it.)
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To: cbkaty

"Whatever happened to using plain old potatoes in plain old cooking oil?"

What, are you some kind of food nut fanatic or something? /sar.


23 posted on 02/19/2006 4:19:59 AM PST by garyhope (Peace through superior firepower, A-10's, C-130 gunships, rational thought and pragmatism.)
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To: cbkaty

But, but we can't stick with the basics!

Do you really expect to get freedom fried potatoes when you order them?

The fake crap is sooooo much better for the corporation...

< /sarc >

PORK FAT RULES!

And butter too.


24 posted on 02/19/2006 4:21:29 AM PST by ChefKeith (Flies,fleas,ants,skeeters,ticks,cockroaches,badcops,lawyers,judges,politicians All the same.Useless!)
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To: hispanichoosier

Other foods with wheat in them are deep fried in the same friers (fillet of fish is a likely example). There's wheat products all over the store and in the food prep areas. To go to a fast food restaurant with a serious wheat allergy is just plain stupid regardless of that the minimum wage person behind the counter says. The parents were seriously negligent.


25 posted on 02/19/2006 4:22:02 AM PST by DB ()
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To: hispanichoosier

I stick by my statement, If you are worried about what you eat , Carry a brown bag and eat what you carry.

Its BS asking waitresses and counter workers whats in the friggin food.Carry your own .


26 posted on 02/19/2006 4:23:23 AM PST by sgtbono2002
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To: bill1952

Especially with a food prep area with wheat products all over the place. For the parents to have the expectation that no wheat is present in any food prepared in that area is just plain stupid.


27 posted on 02/19/2006 4:24:17 AM PST by DB ()
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To: ShadowDancer

Did the mother know she or the father or both passed the problem to her daughter at birth? Maybe they should look in the mirror.


28 posted on 02/19/2006 4:26:31 AM PST by bmwcyle (We got permits, yes we DO! We got permits, how 'bout YOU?;))
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To: grania

If this happened at Joe's burgers in Compton there would be no suit. They smell money.


29 posted on 02/19/2006 4:26:58 AM PST by Loud Mime (Republicans protect Americans from terrorists, Democrats protect terrorists from Americans)
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To: hispanichoosier
In that case, McD's will have a valid defense for trial and may even be able to dispose of this case at the summary judgment stage.

Maybe, maybe not. Is this the latest list? (note McDs aknowledged wheat and other ingredients within the last week or so) Therefore one would assume that their disclosure list had been updated to include these recent disclosures.

Was gluten published on the prior list?
When did the old list become obsolete?
30 posted on 02/19/2006 4:27:02 AM PST by HEY4QDEMS (Learn from the past, don't live in it.)
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To: sgtbono2002

This little girl is 5 yrs. old. I would have suspected she had been to fast food joint before now.

As far as the associate is concerned, yes I expect them to have some level of product knowledge or if they don't know to ask someone who does(read as should if you like). The information is available to both the public and associates. A simple visit to the website or it is available in the restraunt.

McDonald's french fries not gluten-free after all
If your child has wheat or dairy allergies or Celiac Disease, watch out for McDonald's french fries: the company has disclosed that a flavoring in the oil in which the potatoes are fried contains wheat and dairy derivatives. McDonald's had previously proclaimed its fries to be gluten-free, and the potatoes themselves are. But in voluntarily complying with new FDA labeling requirements that apply to packaged foods but not to restaurant offerings, McDonald's has added a "Contains wheat and milk ingredients" warning to the fry ingredient list on its Web site. According to the company's current listing of gluten-free offerings, kids with wheat sensitivities can safely substitute apple slices with caramel sauce, a side salad with Ranch dressing, or a Fruit & Walnut salad without the walnuts for those golden-brown potato strips. Something tells me, though, that a lot of them won't be lovin' it.http://specialchildren.about.com/b/a/243918.htm


31 posted on 02/19/2006 4:27:06 AM PST by EBH (Never give-up, Never give-in, and Never Forget)
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To: hispanichoosier
that's what the law expects.

As Mr Micawber (Dickens character) said, "if the law says that, then the law is an ass."

32 posted on 02/19/2006 4:31:13 AM PST by Hardastarboard (HEY - Billy Joe! You ARE an American Idiot!)
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To: pageonetoo

My sister is a celiac and I can't imagine her eating ANY potato product, much less french fries. Am I wrong??


33 posted on 02/19/2006 4:32:57 AM PST by RossA
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To: ShadowDancer
The family's attorney, Brian W. Smith, said the family had checked with McDonald's before she ate the fries and were assured the product was gluten-free.

Parents to pizza faced teenager behind counter,"Excuse me young man,are those gluten- free fries that you serve here?" To which pizza faced teenager replies"Fer sure,dude."Which the parents reply,"Great,we'll take one super size each,make that a double for our little girl here!"

34 posted on 02/19/2006 4:34:09 AM PST by Uncle Meat
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To: hispanichoosier
Okay. What if the restaurant manager said to you (partly because some food maybe processed on machinery that may have come into contact with peanuts before getting to the restaurant) that he did not know if the food might have come into contact with peanuts, and you eat there any way. Would that make a difference should you have a reaction?
35 posted on 02/19/2006 4:36:33 AM PST by aligncare (Watergate killed journalism)
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To: RossA
My sister is a celiac and I can't imagine her eating ANY potato product, much less french fries. Am I wrong??

Potatoes have no gluten, to my knowledge, but I am not an expert, by any means. I know that rice cakes with PEANUT BUTTER were my daughters favorite snack! You can find more info at my link above...

36 posted on 02/19/2006 4:37:03 AM PST by pageonetoo (FReepmail for Celebrity Cruises (and more)- www.acorntogo.com -Acorn Travel)
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To: ShadowDancer
"gluten-free"

Empty the country of greedy lawyers. Make it glutton-free.

37 posted on 02/19/2006 4:40:00 AM PST by melt (Someday, they'll wish their Jihad... Jihadn't.)
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To: cbkaty
"Whatever happened to using plain old potatoes in plain old cooking oil?"

They tasted too good and didn't cause cancer? ;-)

38 posted on 02/19/2006 4:40:37 AM PST by Normal4me
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To: aligncare
Would that make a difference should you have a reaction?

Yes, because then I would have either (1) assumed the risk of allergy or (2) was contributorily negligent.
39 posted on 02/19/2006 4:46:59 AM PST by hispanichoosier
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To: melt
Empty the country of greedy lawyers.

What ever happened to bad luck.I couldn't tell you how many times I got sick after eating something.I 've had food poisoning from the mess hall as well as 80 other soldiers one time in Ft.Stewart.Did I get to sue the Army,hell no.My wife got really sick after eating a fish fillet sandwich at Burger King.We didn't sue.She just refuses to eat at BK anymore.People are just out to make a quick buck these days.

40 posted on 02/19/2006 4:48:43 AM PST by Uncle Meat
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To: hispanichoosier
Then...(Restaurateur in front of mirror) practicing, "I do not know, I do not know, I do not know).
41 posted on 02/19/2006 4:55:30 AM PST by aligncare (Watergate killed journalism)
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To: pageonetoo
If you haven't already, pick up a copy of Sally Fallon's cookbook, "Nourishing Traditions".

Re Gluten: Soak your grains first. Warm water and yogurt. Especially oats, rye, barley and wheat. Doing so breaks down the phytic acid contained in the outer layer. Many people tolerate grains much better this way.

Want your pancakes to taste better? Soak the flour for 12 to 24 hours in buttermilk, sour or cultured milk or cream. Whoa, what a difference. Just like my grandmother used to make.
42 posted on 02/19/2006 4:59:19 AM PST by allen08gop ("Woman is the most powerful magnet in the universe... and all men are cheap metal!")
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To: hispanichoosier

disagree. If McD's told the family that the fries were gluten-free, but they weren't, it's classic negligence.

Did they contact the teenager flipping burgers or the company headquarters for their information. Maybe it was the bun the hamburgers were on.


43 posted on 02/19/2006 5:06:28 AM PST by chainsaw ( ("We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good." - H. Clinton))
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To: grania

If a child has issues, maybe, just maybe, Mom should consider cooking things from scratch for herself.



That would be too much trouble, and then who would they be able to sue?


44 posted on 02/19/2006 5:12:20 AM PST by John D
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To: RossA

My sister is a celiac and I can't imagine her eating ANY potato product, much less french fries. Am I wrong??




Of course you are wrong, if she acts responsible how on earth will she be able to sue.


45 posted on 02/19/2006 5:17:25 AM PST by John D
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To: hispanichoosier

What about taking personal responsibility for our own results ? Ditto the earlier poster who indicated that those with "food issues" might want to avoid fast food places, even when comforted by teenagers. It is this type of crap that has us all hostage to lawyers and insurance companies.


46 posted on 02/19/2006 5:45:10 AM PST by prov1813man
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To: ShadowDancer
I am saddened to see Americans’ penchant for litigation descending on this issue with its predictable deadening effects. It is hard enough for celiac sufferers to find a place to eat out without adding the fear of lawsuits on the part of restaurants to the mix. This lawsuit can only make matters worse for people with this condition.

The new labeling law was passed to correct the problem that not all ingredients had to be listed on food labels under the old system. McDonald’s fries, because they were said by the company to be gluten free and because they were cooked in dedicated fryers ( not shared with breaded items) were thought to be a safe restaurant food in the celiac community. So now we find that the flavorings contained gluten and perhaps they were not strictly gluten free. Perhaps the research on whether the gluten protein used in the flavoring actually survives the processing and ends up in the final food product will help us understand these issues. The same question existed with the issue of whether the gluten protein is eliminated by distillation in alcohol and vinegars.

This type of revelation about "hidden" gluten in prepared foods was inevitable as food companies really determine for the first time what is actually in the food they sell or serve. Many food items thought questionable will also now be declared safe for this same reason. In fact, I have read articles about major food companies deciding to reformulate their products to eliminate major food allergens in the process of complying with the new labeling law. In the end, I think this is a good thing. Food suppliers should know and reveal what is in the food they sell to the public. However, I would much rather have celiac sufferers realize that anytime you are eating out you take a risk, even if you are told the item is gluten free, and make an intelligent choice to accept that risk or not. Ultimately, with lawsuits like this restaurants will protect themselves by never claiming gluten free status for their food, even when it is, and the results are fewer choices and an even more restricted lifestyle for people with celiac disease. Nobody wins in this case but the lawyers.

47 posted on 02/19/2006 5:46:52 AM PST by politeia
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To: pageonetoo

I hope you realize you can't 'outgrow' an autoimmune disease. The wheat stimulates the destruction of the intestinal villi. You may not see the symptoms but the internal damage can still be occuring in isolated patches of the intestine. Sometimes the overt symptoms come back in middle age. The greatest risk that we were apprasised of regarding undetected symptoms or non-treatment (i.e gluten in your diet) was an elevated risk of lymphoma.

It may be 'easy' to ignore the diet, but I would be careful. If she is indeed over it I would think the blood test would have shown an absence of the anti-gliadin antibodies after a gluten challenge?


48 posted on 02/19/2006 5:48:09 AM PST by parcel_of_rogues
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To: pageonetoo

Thanks for the picture... It makes me think "What is the Breck Girl doing these days"


49 posted on 02/19/2006 5:50:39 AM PST by G3
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To: politeia

A good example of your point is the Malto Meal company which had been producing several cereals that should have been, according to the ingredients gluten-free.

They got sick of inquiries as to the 'purity' of their ingredients, so their solution was to add WHEAT STARCH to the product and stop the annoying phone calls.

McDonalds has been a bedrock of 'normalcy' for our celiac kids. If the lawsuits screw this up we will not be pleased.


50 posted on 02/19/2006 5:53:59 AM PST by parcel_of_rogues
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